Don't laugh. In separate email interviews as they flew Wednesday to Atlanta for owners' meetings on the labor deal, 49ers president and CEO Jed York and Raiders CEO Amy Trask acknowledged they were discussing a joint stadium.
"The 49ers are building a stadium in Santa Clara," York told the San Jose Mercury News. "We've discussed the idea of sharing a stadium at a very high level with the Raiders. The Raiders are exploring all their options."
The teams have been pursuing their own new stadiums for years, and things are heating up now that a new collective bargaining agreement appears imminent. The 49ers want to build a new facility in Santa Clara, where the team has its headquarters, and that stadium project could receive financial help from the league after the new collective bargaining agreement is completed. But the Raiders want a new stadium, too, and joining forces with the 49ers might be the best route for both.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said repeatedly the teams should consider building a stadium together, especially considering the current economic climate for financing. "Well, I'd encourage them to evaluate it, because it has worked in New York," Goodell said in October. "Getting a stadium built is a challenge, particularly in this environment."
In June 2010, Santa Clara passed a measure that would provide $114 million of public money to build a 68,500-seat stadium. However, the total cost of the project could be near $1 billion, and it is not clear where the 49ers would get the rest of the money. The 49ers have said a stadium in Santa Clara could be ready by 2015.
"One of the things that I think a lot of people don't realize about the 49ers and the Raiders is that the person who brokered the deal when my grandfather bought the team was Mr. (Al) Davis," York told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. "So it's not like there is any bad blood. You need to look at that. When you're talking about a billion-dollar investment, and there's not a lot of public money in California to build these stadiums, you need to look at those things and that's something that we've done."
The Raiders' lease at the Oakland Coliseum runs through the 2013 season.
Further complicating things, Oakland city officials on Wednesday unveiled a plan to build a new stadium adjacent to the Raiders' current home. At-large Oakland councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said the planned stadium would host the Raiders and 49ers, as well as soccer and concerts. "We have a lot going for us," Kaplan said. "Santa Clara is nowhere near a done deal."